The state government of Maharashtra (of which Mumbai is the capital), has made it mandatory for all multiplexes in the state to lower ticket rates for films in the local Marathi language and allocate them prime slots.
This decision follows protests by the ruling and opposition parties calling for the abolition of high prices for Marathi release. Last year, 99 Marathi films were submitted for censor certification in Mumbai, however only a few were released and less than a quarter were profitable.
Following the protests Maharashtra home minister R R Patil warned cinema owners that their licences would be revoked if they did not allocate prime time slots to Marathi films. Earlier this year, the High Court directed theatre owners to screen a minimum of 44 shows of Marathi films.
The average occupancy for a Marathi film is estimated to be about 15%. According to the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal only about 10% of the Marathi films released annually make profit.
According to industry sources these films fail to make money because of poor production values, lack of publicity, the involvement of first-time film-makers and unknown cast.